Happy 2024! As the Red Setter offices closed over the festive period, I headed back to stay with my family for ten days. But as I’m sure many others in their twenties living away from home have wondered, time back at the family house often leads me to question… what is home?
I’ve spoken to many friends and colleagues about this: that weird period where staying with your family leaves you feeling like a guest; how we squirm when we call our flats “home” in front of our parents by mistake; or how you’ve only met the ‘family dog’ three times in your life. Yet there’s an uncomfortable finality in fully detaching yourself from the place you grew up.
In light of this, maybe our (mine, at least) idea of the home is too reductive. Perhaps as we enter 2024 we should be changing our mindset.
Home shouldn’t just be where you spend the most time, where you sleep at night or where your belongings are, but about finding pockets of comfort wherever you can. The more ‘homes’ we can find, the better.
Take hygge, for example. No, not Amanda’s ‘Hygge Tygge’ (“heegah teegah”) store in Motherland. The Danish term, actually pronounced “hoo-gah” is defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being” and seems to equate home with a feeling rather than a place. In fact, place doesn’t need to be involved at all.
Hygge can be compounded with other words that not only makes them more fun to say, but makes them feel more like home. Having a cosy time in a café? That’s cafehygge. On a Friday? Well, that’s Fredagshygge, of course. In fact, there’s a whole dictionary of them in Marie Tourell Søderberg’s ‘The Danish Art of Happiness’.
Using this framework we can apply the core principles of homeliness – relaxation, comfort, peace – to anything we find, anywhere. Whether that be a friend, that childhood blanket that definitely needs a wash, or even that family dog you’ve only met three times, perhaps looking for those little things that feel familiar is all it takes to make a hyggehouse a hyggehome.